The head of a California-based charity tried to distance his organization from an anti-Muslim film that has sparked protests around the globe, saying he was duped into participating in the movie.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that Joseph Nassralla, president of Media for Christ, wrote in a statement on the blog of anti-Muslim advocate Pamela Geller that he first became involved with the film known as "Innocence of Muslims" when its filmmaker, a fellow Egyptian immigrant named Nakoula B. Nakoula, approached him for help. He allegedly told Nassralla that he was working on a film about Christian persecution, and wanted to use Media for Christ's broadcast studio for filming.
Nassralla insisted in his statement that was all he had to do with the film, and that the final product of the movie was completely different than the movie that was described to him. He accused Nakoula of altering the film "without anyone's knowledge, changing its entire focus and dubbing in new dialogue." He also said he was unaware that Nakoula listed Media for Christ on the government documents for the movie.
Despite distancing himself from the movie, Nassralla placed the blame on the violent reaction against "Innocence of Muslims" not on the filmmakers, but on "those who are murdering and rioting." The film has angered many Muslims by depicting the prophet Muhammad as clumsy and a sexual deviant. Those images and other rhetoric in the movie are being blamed for violent protests across the Middle East, including last week's breach of the American embassy in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, which resulted in the death of U.S. ambassador Chris Stephens and three others.
Media for Christ, which was established in 2005, runs a satellite television network called The Way TV, which airs sermons and hymns as well as anti-Islamic sentiments. The host of one of its shows, Steve Klein, worked as a script consultant for "Innocence of Muslims."
You can read the full story in The Los Angeles Times.